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The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

And so ends the trilogy that began with A Great and Terrible Beauty, continued with Rebel Angels, and concludes in this final volume, The Sweet Far Thing. I liked the first one well enough because of its unique blend of a wild, magical, mythical realm barely constrained behind stiff Victorian curtains. I really got into the second one as the plot became more complex, Gemma came into her own powers, Felicity and Ann's stories became more layered, and poor beautiful Pippa was relegated to the Realms indefinitely. When I saw how thick the third one was, my eagerness ratcheted up a notch. After all, I have been sitting around lately asking for longer books. Suddenly, here one is.

Unfortunately, 800 pages later, the best thing about it remains the first four words, it's lovely title, taken from a poem by W.B. Yeats. And it does capture the extremely bittersweet feel of the last portion of the book. But somehow this installment failed to capture my imagination. It frustrated me more than anything. Instead of making good use of everything she fought for in Rebel Angels, Gemma spends the entire novel trying to decide whether or not to do what she decided to do at the end of the last book. Not until the final pages does she get a grip on herself and do what needs to be done. I thought we were done with crippling indecision in the previous books. I wanted the Gorgon to just let loose and throttle her! Meanwhile, Felicity and Ann are apparently thirteen again and spend the majority of their time being petty and distrustful, backstabbing Gemma whenever they get the chance. Pippa is the most interesting of the original friends, munching on the berries of the dead in all her Miss Havisham glory. But her path is extremely predictable. And Kartik? Fiery, beautiful Kartik? Sigh. The end to his story had far too much in common with Merlin's fate for my taste. I will say that the scene where Gemma and Kartik place their hands inside the stone was achingly beautiful. But, as with much in this hefty book, it was too little too late and I'm left feeling sad. Wishing, somehow, it could all have gone differently.

Links:
3 Evil Cousins Review
The Story Siren Review

Comments

  1. I was so excited to read this one--and so sad when it was over. Gemma was so wishy-washy and indecisive. Oh, and Kartik...that ending killed me. And then she went to America?? What an ending.

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  2. Rachel, exactly. It felt rushed and wrong somehow.

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